Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wagner, Sex, and Star Wars

“Faces flushed, bodies hunched, their heads jerked up and down while splayed claws banged away at the mass of sound rearing up under them. Something unfathomable was going on: a balloon, wavering in outline as it filled up with hot emotion, was swelling to the bursting point, and from the excited fingertips, the nervously wrinkling foreheads, the twitching bodies, again and again surges of fresh feeling poured into this awesome private tumult. How often had they been through this!” (45)

Is this quote something I pulled out of one of my Nana’s countless cheesy smut romances with Fabio on the cover; laden with passionate tales of sheet shaking sweating romantic encounters? Nope it came straight from the pages of the Man without Qualities. Sometimes I get a little tired of the readings, so I think up elaborate scenarios to make the reading more interesting. Like for instance, imagining that the characters are really on the stage singing opera at each other. It is rather odd, but it keeps me awake. That is why this passage describing Walter and Clarisse playing the piano really caught my eye. It captures such passion and vigor that I hadn’t seen from this book. Seeing here that they both shared such a passion and talent for music, I thought it would speak to the strength of their relationship and the power of their love. Since they were playing “Ode to Joy,” part of what is known as the most perfect symphony, I thought their choice of music would stand as a symbol for their relationship. I was wrong.

The fact that Walter and Clarisse are playing “Ode to Joy,” is nothing but another fallacy and irony. Beethoven’s 9th strums up feelings of harmony, beauty, utopia, happiness and perfection. That is a pretty far cry from what I think of when I consider Walter and Clarisse’s relationship. When I think of their marriage I think of tension, discord, miscommunication, and a hint of jealousy. I found it equally ironic that Ulrich said, “[he] knew that Clarisse refused her body to Walter for weeks at a time when he played Wagner.” (47) In reality, Wagner’s compositions, drama’s, and themes better describe Walter and Clarisse’s relationship than Beethoven. On a side note, I really enjoy Wagner, his music actually inspired John Williams when he composed the music for Star Wars. So to wrap this up, I don’t mean to be the gossip in class or the one who constantly hits on taboo topics but for me music really seems to correspond with sexual tensions in Walter and Clarisse’s relationship.

1 comment:

David Weir said...

Funny stuff!

I think that youäre onto something with this talk of imagining things to make the reading more interesting. Itäs pretty clear in that first (smut novel) passage that Musil probably wanted his readers to be thinking other things. That passage definitely conjures up some pretty kinky images for the reader. The way the couple plays music is very visceral. The act of playing seems to overtake them in the same way that sex would. In short, this passage represents a metaphor for the wild, albeit tense and unstable sex life between the couple.

P.S. I was disappointed when you didnät explicitly tie this in with Star Wars... A dissertation topic perhaps?